When you think of key roles in your martial arts school, your instructors typically are at the forefront of your mind. And rightfully so. The student / instructor relationship plays a crucial role in your ability to retain students over the long haul. But don’t underestimate the role of your other team members, because behind every successful small business is a strong administrative staff!
The most successful small business owners recognize that a good administrative person does not just play a “support” role, but one that should go far beyond greeting your clients, answering calls and emails, doing data entry in your software, handling your pro-shop sales and inventory, and other routine office work. To be sure, all those things are important work on their own. But when you have that special person who can multi-task and problem-solve in other areas of the business, their value skyrockets!
In this article, Kicksite looks at the crucial role the administrative positions play for a small business, taking a look from both sides, the owners view, and the staff members view, offering insight along the way that we hope will help create a win / win situation for you both!
Often, it’s the administrative staff that makes the initial contact with potential students and their parents. They are the face and voice of the school therefore the first impression of your business is often formed by this interaction. This reason alone makes them one of the most valuable people on your staff. So be sure to choose wisely on their ability to make that good first impression. While a great instructor can help you retain students, it’s often the administrative person that’s most responsible for your lead conversion rate. And unless you can first get students in the door, having a great instructor is of little value!
Sometimes, in the course of managing your leads, questions and concerns come up- sometimes from the potential student, but more often from the parent. A quick-thinking and resourceful staff member will have the ability to handle those tricky situations and address every objection that comes along with ease and confidence.
Your administrative team member not only interacts with your leads and active clients, they also typically interact daily with you, the owner, and your instructors. This puts them in an excellent position to provide you with good insight into your business. For example, maybe a parent has a concern about their child. It’s not uncommon for them to first voice that concern to her/him as they informally chatted at the front desk. Your admin person can be sure this kind of important information flows to you and your instructors and flows quickly before it becomes such a problem they drop out without warning.
If you are part of your school’s administrative staff and reading this, you may be asking, how can I make myself more valuable to the business?
- Be a great communicator. As the person who probably interacts with more individuals that anyone else in the school, your ability to communicate with ease and confidence with the public (remember, everyone you meet is a potential lead!), students, parents, vendors, and other team members is a key to your success and the success of the business. Your ability to think on your feet and show grace under pressure will make you invaluable to the owner!
- Be detail oriented. To be successful, a business needs someone in a key role who pays close attention to details for the team. Be sure the upcoming seminar or event planning is on track. Offer to follow-up with vendors and service providers to make sure things are on schedule. Remind the owner of things that you think may otherwise slip his or her mind. Make sure any and all data entry is correct and updated regularly. Be the detail person!
- Educate yourself on the terminology of the industry. Do you know what the term 6th Dan means? Can you tell a prospective client what the difference is between karate and taekwondo? Can you explain sparring to a parent? Dojang, dojo, dobock, kihap… are you familiar with the terms common for your school’s particular style?
- Be a jack-of-all-trades. Every small business owner must wear many hats. Be willing to do the same. Even if something seems outside of your traditional role or may be a bit uncomfortable for you to tackle, step up anyway because it is the person who steps up regularly to help in any situation that ultimately is indispensable to the business owner
So, there you have it. We hope this article has reminded school owners the importance of recognizing and appreciating what a strong administrative person can do for the business and for those who have an administrative role, we hope you now have better insight into how you can help your school thrive and stand out in your community as the most professional!